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  • socdeansintern 2:47 pm on August 7, 2017 Permalink  

    Vox let me interview strangers about the Russia-Trump probe. I might have taken it too far. 

    By Dean’s Intern Lindsay Maizland at Vox

    “They’re driving your way!” my sister shouted over the phone. I immediately started running toward the street, hoping to stop two men who were driving around in a camouflage four-wheeler, with a huge American flag billowing behind them.

    It was the Friday before the Fourth of July, and I had spent the whole day interviewing random people in my small town in Michigan. My question: What do you think of the Trump-Russia investigation?

    Since starting my internship with Vox’s foreign team in January, the Trump-Russia probe has dominated our coverage, and rightly so. But I wondered whether people outside of the newsroom and D.C. cared.

    I was returning to my rural, predominantly conservative and white hometown for the holiday weekend and figured it would be the perfect opportunity to find an answer. I pitched the idea, my editors approved it, and a few days later I was chasing the camo men. I ended up sprinting down my street to the neighborhood bank’s parking lot to interview them, and they actually offered a different perspective than other people I talked with.

    Nearly every single person I spoke with said the same thing: The media just needs to leave Trump alone, and the Russia investigation is a distraction. Most were Trump supporters, except for the camo men. You can read the full article here.

    This whole situation was far from a typical day at Vox. It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve done as a journalist so far, but I’m sure I’ll soon have many stories like this now that I’ve graduated and am looking for jobs as a full-time reporter.

    After all that, my advice to new Dean’s Interns is to pitch stories you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to talk to your editors or supervisors about how you can do things that weren’t included in the job description. You might just end up doing something super unusual and exciting.

     
  • socdeansintern 2:48 pm on July 27, 2017 Permalink  

    Research is the Foundation of Most Everything Discovery Does 

    By Brianna Hall at Discovery Communications

    The Consumer Insights and Culture team at Discovery Communications is a multitasking, information seeking, ideation inspiring work horse. We support all networks, divisions, and teams in the Discovery family and as an intern here I’ve been able to learn about how initiatives are built from the ground up.

    My first month we had a request handed down from Discovery executives seeking Discovery’s next defining project. First we compiled information on sixteen different genres; everything from a comprehensive timeline of the 20th century to lookbooks of famous family bloggers. We organized five internal focus groups (one of which was comprised of all interns!) who would spend three days brainstorming: we were tapping into some of the best minds across all of Discovery’s brands and departments. The result was a fantastic collection of show ideas, stunts, new traditions, and events. The Consumer Insights and Culture team then had to decipher, record, and organize hundreds of ideas for Discovery executives to shape the company’s new tentpoles. And that was all in three weeks.

    This is just one example of the many research tactics CIC uses to gather information. I’ve also been pulling out quotes and cultural themes from recordings of focus groups the team had conducted around the country earlier in the year, helped design surveys to collect data on Information Security, and written a weekly “Top 10 Social Trends” newsletter that is distributed throughout the company. Research is the foundation of most everything Discovery does, and witnessing and participating in this process has taught me about the intricate web of programming, internal communication, and data collection.

     

     
  • socdeansintern 12:51 pm on July 27, 2017 Permalink  

    Finding Opportunities for Immersive Journalism at USA TODAY 

    By Dean’s Intern Sara Wise at USA TODAY

    Since returning to USA Today for another internship this summer, I’ve been working with the investigations team, collaborating on opportunities to visualize data and tell more immersive stories.

    I work closely with the vice president of investigations to identify opportunities for data visualization and collaboration with the interactive graphics team. Because investigations are, of course, very long, I also have a lot of time to take on daily tasks. I pick up graphic assignments and attempt to complete my own in-depth projects.

    In the summer, interns are treated to plenty of team-building and group activities to strengthen their reporting, collaboration and leadership skills. Plus, the company hosts its own celebrations here and there. Between complimentary happy hours held occasionally and other company celebrations (the summer is cool here!) I have met and made connections both with established reporters and interns who’ve yet to finish their undergraduate studies.

    Back at my desk, the most challenging project this summer was creating a map to display the data associated with a story about Skype questions taken during White House pressers. After about three or four iterations of the graphic, I finally arrived at the finished product, which was, I think, the best possible way to display the information. I’m proud of the work done so far.

    Through all of this, and since I first started with USAT in January, I have been learning full stack web programming. This may be one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Because of this position, I’ve been teaching myself to code in my own time.

     

     
  • socdeansintern 11:57 am on July 25, 2017 Permalink  

    Venturing Outside My Knowledge Base at Bloomberg BNA 

    By Dean’s Intern Shira Stein at Bloomberg BNA

    When I was told I would be covering banking, securities regulations, corporate governance and antitrust if I accepted the position at Bloomberg BNA, I thought they must be nuts. I had no clue what securities regulations was, and the only reason I had heard of antitrust was because of my US history classes. I thought they had made a mistake, but I was wrong.

    Over the last two months, I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much about everything from Dodd-Frank to what the SEC is (a federal agency that regulates tradable financial assets). I’ve covered complex congressional hearings on market structure, and I’ve written stories about blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin.

    I even had a story featured on TOP on the Bloomberg Terminal, a first for a Bloomberg BNA intern!

    It’s been especially great to do all the activities that Bloomberg BNA puts on for the interns. We’ve met people at all levels of the company (including the CEO), bagged apples for a non-profit organization, gone on a scavenger hunt through the Smithsonians, and more.

    I’ve loved my time at Bloomberg BNA, and I’m really sad that I’ll have to leave my amazing colleagues and fellow interns in two weeks.

     
  • socdeansintern 2:46 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink  

    Challenges and Teamwork at NBC4 

    By Dean’s Intern Courtney Rozen at NBC4

    It’s been an extraordinary honor to serve as the Dean’s Intern at NBCWashington.com, NBC4’s news site.

    As an intern, I’m responsible for writing stories for web, cutting broadcast packages, crafting posts for social media and culling stories from the wires. However, no two days are alike here. One day, I’ll be interviewing a public information officer about illegal fireworks in D.C. Another day, I’ll be downtown at the American History Museum, previewing their latest exhibit by building an Instagram story. I’ve learned how to tell stories with clarity, accuracy and precision.

    A highlight of the summer was working with NBC4’s Susan Hogan, who leads their consumer division. I pitched a story to my editor about how other retailers such as Sears, Target and Sur la Table were running counter sales to Amazon Prime Day, the company’s flagship online sale. I ended up researching deals for hours, eventually bringing the story to Susan, who transformed it into an on-air story. My web story was picked up by all 13 NBC-owned television stations, and featured on-air by Susan (what an honor!).

    Another high point of the summer was covering the FIRST Global Challenge, termed the “robotics Olympics.” There, I met a group of teenagers from Iran representing their country at the competition. I learned that sanctions blocked the Iranian teens from receiving parts to build their robot, so a group of Virginia high schoolers stepped up. The Iranians sent their designs via Skype to the Virginia teens, who built the robot for them here in the U.S. The robot was ready for them to compete when they arrived. I wrote a story on the collaboration, which NBC4 anchor Doreen Gentzler also reported on-air.

    While I’ll never forget these experiences, the strongest takeaway here is the coaching I’ve received from the digital team staff. From teaching me how to transform a press release into a strong article, to bringing me along to content planning meetings, they’ve truly made me feel as though I am part of the team. I’m forever grateful to them for all they’ve taught me.

     

     
  • socdeansintern 3:20 pm on July 18, 2017 Permalink  

    Persistence and Luck Go Hand in Hand with Investigative Reporting 

    By Dean’s Intern Amanda McLaren at The Washington Post

    It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as the Dean’s Intern at the The Washington Post for the past three semesters. Throughout, the team here has allowed me to pursue my passion for education reporting, allowing me to gain incredibly valuable — and rewarding — experience.

    Most recently, the Post published a story I co-reported with Emma Brown, the national education reporter, on the District’s private-school voucher program. With $15 million in taxpayer money going to the program each year and the Trump’s administration’s pledge to increase that amount, we wanted to find out where exactly those dollars were going. Were students able to use the program to escape struggling public schools for high-performing private ones? Were students with disabilities getting a fair shot at accessing the program?

    What we discovered was more murkiness than transparency, as the program administrator refused to divulge how many students — and how much money — participating private schools were getting. In turn, we decided to call the schools ourselves, which led to a hodge-podge of information. Of the 15 schools we spoke with, we discovered that while some were enrolling a large percentage of voucher students, others (notably, what would be considered the District’s “elite” private schools) were taking few, if any, voucher students each year.

    Interestingly, when we compared the D.C. voucher program to other programs nationwide, we found that other state programs were even more opaque.

    I wish I had kept count of how many phone calls (and how many games of phone tag!) I made in order to report that story. It was another reminder that investigative reporting requires a lot of persistence and a little bit of luck.

    As I finish out my internship at the Post, I will continue to keep those lessons in mind.

     
  • socdeansintern 11:09 am on July 18, 2017 Permalink  

    Learning the Ins and Outs of Audio Production 

    By Dean’s Intern Kayla Lattimore at NPR

    My time at the NPR Education Desk has been one of the most fulfilling learning experiences of my academic career. I’ve had the ability to work with the team collecting audio for stories and reporting on long term stories and assignments. One of the most rewarding parts of this internship has been learning the ins and outs of audio production. I’ve had the chance to get my feet wet and start to build a passion for radio storytelling.

    The best part of my time here at NPR has been the opportunity to pitch stories to the team and have them published on the NPR Education Blog.  For summer,  I wrote a piece called Summer Reading For Your Woke Kid where I selected a list of socially conscious books for kids in grade school who want to learn about social movements and activism. It was NPR Book’s best story of the week which was pretty exciting.

    I then pitched another story that centered around the racialization of dress codes in schools, called When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code, and how they target black female students. This piece I am most proud of because I spent weeks reporting and talking to researchers to build the story and working with my editor to make it come to life. When it was published it was the top three story on the NPR website which was a huge accomplishment for me and made me proud of my work. What I learned working for NPR is invaluable and look forward to taking it with me as I go on through my career.

     
  • socdeansintern 10:55 am on July 18, 2017 Permalink  

    Another Day in the Cave 

    By Dean’s Intern Sam Pond at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

    It was promising to be nothing more than an average Tuesday at the Air & Space Museum. I was not exactly excited to drag my tired body all the way down to the Mall. But I did. When I arrived at the office I was greeted, per usual, with the piles of virtual files in disarray in the basement editing suite, aptly nick-named the Cave. Normally, I’m excited to sift through to find the hidden gems of silly bloopers from the show STEM in 30, but today, I was tired. However, that day did turn out to be different. I was pulled up to the conference room into an intern meeting I’d forgotten we had. And there was the guest of honor, NASA’s head astronaut Pat Forrester. Of course, I had gone through mounds of video footage compiled by my supervisors, which featured astronauts like Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, but I had never met one before. He gave a presentation describing what he does for NASA, his four spaceflights and his time working on the international space station. But the best part was by far his reassurance that we, the interns, don’t need to figure out immediately what we want to do in the future. Maybe this internship will be a great stop on my way forward towards film or towards something else, but what I learned was that I don’t need to know that now. It was an awesome experience and there are even more astronauts coming this summer. I’m excited to get to work filming them.

     
  • socdeansintern 11:14 am on July 17, 2017 Permalink  

    There is No Expiration for Hard Work 

    By Dean’s Intern Griffin Rowell at Current.org

    Recently, I wrapped up a story where I profiled a 74-year-old journalism intern at a Florida public radio station. The man has a stellar resume, which includes multiple Emmy and Peabody awards, time spent as a combat correspondent covering the Vietnam war, as well as a litany of books across several genres. Speaking to someone with such a passion for storytelling and journalism, a strong lust for life, and a serious sense of humor, was really inspiring to me, as well as our readers, some of which have reached out  in order to thank me for telling the man’s story. It gave me great joy to detail the life of such a positive creative force to readers, especially now at a time where it feels like all the news is bad. Doing this story reminded me that there is not an expiration date for hard work, and that it is important to engage the millions of senior citizens who just need a little help to get back into the profession they love, or to join a new one entirely. Going forward in my time in the communications field, I want to continue to shed light on stories that have a real potential to inspire others, and put our own lives into perspective.

     

     

     
  • socdeansintern 11:26 am on May 2, 2017 Permalink  

    A Front Row Seat into Documentary Production 

    By Dean’s Intern Kelly Vaughen at Voice of America

    My time as an intern at Voice of America has been rewarding in so many ways. I was hired as a production intern in the documentary unit. I work with acclaimed producers, and have a front row seat to the process of making a documentary from start to finish.

    The film is about the terrorist organization, Boko Haram, and the impact they have had throughout Nigeria. Working on a film with such an important message was inspiring and daunting. I was involved with research, finding interviews, and the coordination of producing a film in the United States, which is being shot in Nigeria.

    Not only was I able to help with the film, I was also able to work with the VOA investigative unit. I helped with research on multiple projects, and learned tips and tricks of investigative reporting from seasoned professionals.

    One of the most rewarding aspects of my internships came from just being in the massive establishment that is Voice of America. The main news room has reporters covering every beat you can think of, in every different medium. Not only are there professionals around every corner, the entire newsroom is so willing to share their knowledge. It truly amazed me how everyone at VOA was invested in my success and so willing to help.

    I wish I could stay on through for the final production of the film, but cannot wait to see it, and take pride in my contribution.

     

     
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